Up to 25,000 workers at retail giant Littlewoods have been told their jobs are safe after directors accepted a £750 million takeover offer by media entrepreneurs and Ritz Hotel owners the Barclay brothers.

The Liverpool-based group, which was founded 79 years ago as a football pools firm, is being bought by Sir David Barclay and Sir Frederick Barclay who have given assurances they will not lay-off any staff.

The operator of around 190 stores and mail-order business reported a pre-tax profits of £53m last year after losing market share to discount retailers such as Primark, Matalan and Peacock stores.

In a statement the Moores family, which own the group, said: "It is a wrench for us to part from the company founded by Sir John Moores almost 80 years ago.

"However, the family is united in its belief that it is in the best interests of the business to develop and grow with the Barclay brothers.

"It is fundamental for us that today's agreement secures full employment rights, continued location of the business in Liverpool and ongoing use of the Littlewoods name."